Microscopic Coronavirus

Fears of more coronavirus in Australia

Australian health authorities are warning the country’s fifth case of the deadly coronavirus won’t be the last.

A 21-year-old Sydney university student has become the country’s fifth person to be diagnosed after flying back from the virus’s epicentre in Wuhan, China.

Three men – aged 35, 43 and 53 – are also being treated at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital and are in a stable condition.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says there’s potential for more cases.

Authorities are working to trace all contact the five patients have had, including people who were on the same flights, the minister told Sky News on Tuesday.

NSW Health confirmed five people were also undergoing testing.

A man in his 50s in Victoria is being treated at Monash Medical Centre while four of his family members are under home isolation.

Australian chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy said authorities were doing their best to contact people who had been in close proximity to those who had been diagnosed with the virus, but more positive results were inevitable.

“There’s people tested every day and there will be more that turn out to be positive,” Prof Murphy said.

In the latest case to be identified by authorities, the UNSW student displayed no symptoms upon landing in Sydney on China Eastern flight MU749 last Thursday but 24 hours later began exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

The diagnosis came as some schools around the country took action to segregate students who had visited China.

Ten Chinese pupils at Brisbane’s Stuartholme are being isolated to their own floor of the boarding house for two weeks and assessed regularly for illness under the advice of Queensland Health, The Australian reported.

Pymble Ladies College in Sydney and Firbank Grammar School in Melbourne advised parents to keep their children at home for at least two weeks if they had visited an affected area in China.

Other private schools requested students who had visited the affected regions in China provide a doctor’s certificate.

China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said the country’s health officials believed patients were infectious during the virus’ incubation period, which ranges from one-to-14 days.

Until now, doctors have believed patients are only contagious when they start showing symptoms.

But Prof Murphy expressed scepticism and said the government was seeking urgent advice from the World Health Organisation.

“The expert panels were not convinced of that at the moment. They were not convinced that evidence is being presented,” Prof Murphy said.

“It would be very unusual because this virus is similar to the SARS and MERS viruses and they were not infectious before symptoms.

“If that were to be the case, it would have implications for contact tracing.”

© AAP 2020

Former ‘The Block’ contestant Suzi Taylor in trouble again

Former reality TV star Suzi Taylor has been charged after allegedly assaulting a woman before stealing her phone.

The 49-year-old is accused of attacking the woman in the lobby of a hotel in Brisbane around 12.30pm on Thursday.

It’s understood Ms Taylor was arrested at the scene before being released with a court notice a short time later.

She has been charged with one count of stealing and one count of common assault, and is due in court on February 24.

The mother-of-three is also currently on bail for a string of other charges.

Taylor and a female friend featured on the popular reality TV series The Block in 2015 and took home $349,000.

House Fire

Gold Coast home destroyed by ferocious fire

A house has been completely destroyed after it erupted into flames at Tallebudgera overnight.

Emergency crews were called to the property on Tallebudgera Connection Road just after 11.00pm following reports of a large blaze.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokesperson said fire crews found the home “well involved” when they arrived.

Paramedics were also called to the scene and remained on standby for firies, however thankfully no one was injured.

It’s not yet known what sparked the blaze.

Investigations are continuing.

Great White Shark

Australia second on global shark attack list

The US has trumped Australia for the most shark attacks the past year.

America easily led the world in unprovoked attacks in 2019 with 41 bites, up from 32 the previous year, but significantly lower than the nation’s five-year average of 61 bites annually.

Australia had the second-most shark attacks globally with 11, down from its five-year annual average of 16 bites.

The University of Florida keeps track of attacks around the globe and releases the figures in its annual International Shark Attack File.

The 64 unprovoked bites worldwide in 2019 was a 22 per cent drop on the most recent five-year average and only two, one in Reunion and the other in the Bahamas, were fatal.

That was a drop from the average of four deaths from unprovoked attacks a year.

“We’ve had back-to-back years with unusual decreases in shark attacks, and we know that people aren’t spending less time in the water,” Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program, said.

“This suggests sharks aren’t frequenting the same places they have in the past.”

NSW had six of Australia’s 11 unprovoked attacks.

Queensland had four and Western Australia one.

Florida was the world’s shark attack hotspot with 21, representing 51 per cent of the US total and 33 per cent of unprovoked attacks worldwide.

Florida, however, experienced a significant drop from its most recent five-year annual average of 32 incidents.

Naylor said the decline may reflect changes in the migration patterns of blacktip sharks, the species most often implicated in Florida bites.

Hawaii had nine and California and North Carolina both had three.

South Africa, once a hotspot for shark attacks, only had one.

“The news coming out of South Africa is that they’re not seeing as many sharks,” Tyler Bowling, ISAF manager, said.

“White sharks have been moving out of some areas as pods of orcas move in, and there are reports that sharks are disappearing along the whole Cape.”

Surfers and others in board sports accounted for 53 per cent of the attacks, swimmers and waders 25 per cent snorkelers/free divers (11 per cent ), body-surfers (eight per cent) and scuba divers (3 per cent).

© AAP 2020


42,000 more cars recalled because of potential deadly airbags

Another 42,000 cars are being recalled because of potentially deadly airbags, with owners urged to stop driving the vehicles immediately.

The latest recall affects some Honda and Mitsubishi vehicles built between 1996 and 2000.

Honda models part of this recall include CRV, Accord and Legend while Mitsubishi models include Pajero, Lancer, Mirage and Starwagon.

It follows a similar recall of some BMW, Audi, Ford, Mazda, Suzuki and Toyota vehicles.

The ACCC warns these vehicles may be fitted with Takata NADI 5-AT airbags which could misdeploy if involved in a crash and cause metal fragments to propel out of the air bag.

There is also a risk these airbags could under-inflate.

“These Takata NADI 5-AT airbags may kill or injure vehicle occupants if they misdeploy in an accident,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

“Two drivers have already died in Australia after their Takata NADI 5-AT airbags ruptured and propelled metal parts into the car interior.”

“We urge owners to check if their vehicle is affected by visiting the Product Safety Australia website or contacting their manufacturer,” Mr Sims said.

Both Honda and Mitsubishi are offering to buy back affected vehicles at market value and provide other transport until the process is completed.